Frankfurt, Detroit, Paris, Beijing, Geneva: These cities are synonymous with glitzy automotive shows, but the winds of change are blowing.

One of the biggest motor shows in the world, Frankfurt IAA is held every two years. But this year’s show in September will be noticeably different, as automakers continue to shift their marketing spend into consumer technology shows, the web and social media.

New players at the auto shows 

For decades, the world’s motor shows were a great opportunity for customers to compare different cars at the same time, as a large rage of OEMs showed all their models at the same area. But now most consumers do their research online, where information and prices are transparent and easy to compare, preparing the customer for a more educated conversation with their local sales representative.

The OEMs are responding to this trend to the point where up to ten major brands plan to skip this year’s Frankfurt IAA.

Yet several major international technology companies including Qualcomm, Sony, and IBM will be present as they seek a slice of the automotive pie.

A seamless in-car user interface 

As drivers become more familiar with the seamless user interface experience on their smartphone and other devices, such an experience will become more important within the car. Increased urbanization and a lack of space to drive and park cars are further factors driving technological solutions forwards.

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There is a battle going on between the established OEMs and the new entrants about who will produce the automotive technology of the future. Who is better placed to integrate each other’s technology – the car manufacturers or the software providers. One thing is for sure: companies investing in automotive solutions can increasingly be found at the motor shows.

Responding to market demand 

The incumbent manufacturers are trying to adopt to the new trends. Traditional automakers are turning to consumer electronics shows to demonstrate their ability to adapt to the demand from consumers who are becoming ever more used to a seamless user interface.

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas has become as big a barometer for the future car as the motor shows themselves. At the 2017 show, nine automotive manufacturers, 11 tier-one suppliers, and more than 300 auto-related technology companies were exhibiting at the technology conference.

The automakers showed new autonomous test vehicles meant for the streets of the future and soon to come technology like the integration of Amazon’s Alexa voice control.

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It seems likely these trends will continue and the glamorous motor shows of the past will continue to decline, becoming events for the traditional car enthusiasts, while the car manufacturers further invest in digitalization and the technology shows.